Fire in the Hessequa – update

Garden Route District fire update 2018/10/23

GRDM Mayor, Memory Booysen reports from Heseequa

Municipal area: Hessequa

Location: Vermaaklikheid

Current situation:

Currently, there are several wildfires in the Hessequa, specifically in the Vermaaklikheid and Puntjie areas. Other than the Vermaaklikheid fire, most of the wildfires are contained. This is due to a mammoth effort from all fire services and their partners, including Cape Nature the South Cape Fire Protection Agency (SCFPA) and WoF.

The status as at 17:00: The Vermaaklikheid fire is still not contained. A change in wind direction at 14:30 complicated fire-fighting efforts. Between 12:00 and 16:00 when the temperatures are at its highest, new problems are always expected to arise – and so it did.

Priority for all teams is to protect infrastructure and homes, including the Vermaaklikheid and Puntjie villages. At the moment all the fire lines in the Puntjie area are contained – there is a high density of homes in that area. Tonight and tomorrow morning we will attack the wildfire head-on. We cannot risk the lives of fire fighters in these conditions.

A South African Air Force Oryx will be up on first light, with the assistance of the Minister of Local Government and the Western Cape Provincial Disaster Management Centre. In addition to this WOF will dispatch a Huey helicopter from Ugie as well as two fixed-wing bombers from Nelspruit first light tomorrow morning to assist with aerial firefighting operations.

The objectives of the Incident Management Team are to protect the lives of community members, firefighters and to limit the economic impact of this wildfire.

The weather forecast for tomorrow is similar to that of today, thus we expect the same challenges faced today.

– Infrastructure lost (7 properties).

– Loss of human life (1 person died when a WoF helicopter went down around 09:45 this morning. Contact WoF for more information).

Role Players / Deployment

– 32 Fire fighters from Working on Fire / 1 Fire Truck – more are making their way to Vermaaklikheid and Puntjie

– 7 Fire fighters from Garden Route District Municipality / 1 Fire Truck / 4 Skid Units

– 5 from Hessequa Municipality / 2 Skid Units / 1 Fire Truck

– 3 from George Fire / 1 Skid Unit / 1 Fire Truck

– 2 from Overberg District Municipality / 3 Fire Trucks

– 8 from Gou Kou farm watch / 7 Skid Units

– 3 from SCFPA / 2 Skid Units

If any person from the public would like to donate non-perishable food to the fire fighters, please contact Anna Philander on 065 397 3709. Please note this area is extremely dangerous and we request that those planning to donate anything would need to contact Ms Philander or drop off donations at the Hessequa fire station.

Trevor Abrahams, Chairperson Kishugu Aviation

Garden Route District Fire 23/10/2018 10:30

Municipal Area: Hessequa

Location: Vermaaklikheid

Aerial Resources:
1 Chopper from Mossel Bay Helicopters
– Request to activate 2 Oryx Airforce Helicopters from WC Government
– 1 WoF Chopper down. contact Linton from WoF for more information – (082) 5080990

Current situation:
Fire is currently burning on 2 flanks namely the Western and Eastern flanks.

Both flanks are burning either side of the Duiwenhoks river.

The Western flank is currently contained and mopping up is being conducted by local volunteers and Enviro Volunteer Wildfire Services.

The Eastern flank is the main concern and primary objective.

Fire fighters as well as aerial resources are fighting this fire line of some 3,5km and trying to prevent it from jumping the Puintjie / Blombos road.

It has been confirmed that approximately 7 homes have been destroyed. Multiple smaller structures have been destroyed too.

Weather conditions:
A heat wave is moving through the Hessequa area at 33°C. Wind speed is at 26km/h

Role Players:
32 Firefighters from WoF / 1 Fire Truck;
7 Fire fighters from Garden Route DM / 1 Fire Truck / 4 Skid Units;
5 from Hessequa Municipality / 2 skid units / 1 Fire Truck;
3 Firefighters from George Municipality / 1 Skid Unit / 1 Fire Truck;
8 Firefighters from Gou Kou farm watch / 7 Skid Units;
3 Firefighters from SCFPA / 2 Skid Units

Services include the SCFPA Management team involved in ground operations and IMT. Hessequa Mun Fire, George Mun Fire, GRDM Fire. SCFPA resources also include some 32 Working on Fire fire fighters from Riversdale as well as a Huey helicopter and a Spotter aircraft. Weather conditions are unfavourable with a max temp of 38 and a predominant NW wind. The SCFPA would like to thank the local Vermaaklikheid community for their support, food and much needed cold water.

Fire update Vermaaklikheid Fire

Fire Update 2018/10/22 Time: midnight, 6 hours ago



Western Flank maintained with the current weather conditions but the fire line is still very hot. Still a major concern as weather predictions is not so favorable for tomorrow.
Eastern flank approximately 3.4 m long and is burning with a backburn in the direction of the Blombos gravel road, should this fire jump the road it will burn in the direction of Puntjie and Basjans Bay where approximately 100 thatch roof houses is in danger.
One successful backburn caused the base of the fire which was burning in the direction of Vermaaklikheid to be contained.

Protection of structures
Backburn was conducted on the Eastern flank. Backburn was contained and crews will monitor start with mopping up.
Western flank is secure and will be monitored.

– Infrastructure: 
Should the weather conditions change approximately 100 houses in danger at Puntjie and Basjans Bay

– Evacuations:
None at this stage

– People: 
None at this stage all communities are fully aware of the situation

– _Weather Conditions:_ 
Wind changed at 22:00 from a Easterly to a Northerly wind. Expected wind direction for the rest of the night remains in a Northerly direction with wind speeds of 10km/ hour.
Temperature will be cooler for the rest of the night but predictions are that a very hot day with temperatures of 33 ° C are expected

All aerial resources were grounded at last light.
1 x Private Chopper from Kobus Crouse and
1 x Spotter and 1 x Chopper from WOF on standby and available at first light

GRDM: 5 skid units, 2 tankers and 8 firefighters
Hessequa Fire: 2 skid units, 1 tanker and 4 firefighters.
WOF: 12 Ground crews and 1 crew transporter
George Fire: 1 skid unit, 1 tanker and 3 firefighters.
Gou Kou Farm Watch: 7 skid units, 1 tractor tanker and 8 farmers.
Enviro Wild Fire: 3 skid units and 8 fire fighters
NSRI Witsand: 1 skid unit and 4 persons

19 Skid Units
5 Water Tankers
47 Firefighters

Garden Route District fire update 2018/20/22 Time: 16:00


LOCATION: Duivenhoks River and surrounding areas

Right flank fire on its way to Witsand. Left flank on its way to Puntjie.
Western flank on the western side of the river is running west with a strong wind behind it – choppers are bombing this fire.

Another chopper is bombing the eastern flank of the fire at Duivenhoks River. WoF ground teams are active here. 

– Infrastructure: 
Seven homes have been lost in fires since yesterday. One thatch roof house bombed moments ago and saved near the Duivenhoks River.

– Evacuations:
– People: 
No loss of life, but a wife and her two children were evacuated at one home, while the father stayed behind to protect their property.

– Weather Conditions: 
Hot weather and strong winds are complicating firefighting operations.

Two choppers and a spotter

33 firefighters on the ground (WoF)
12 Garden Route DM
4 Hessequa Municipality
3 George Fire Department
8 Farmer Community

The GRDM Fire and Rescue team in Riversdale, at 3 pm yesterday, responded to a fire in the Vermaaklikheid area between Riversdale and Heidelberg.  By 4 pm they requested assistance from George.  Three thatched houses have been destroyed.  By 6 am the fire was heading towards Heidelberg.  Backburns are being prepared, but the fire is still out of control.

Garden Route District Fire Update 2018/10/21 @ 23:30

Vermaaklikheid Fire. 21 Oct 2018 @ 23:00.

The fire was reported at GR Control Centre at 15:05 where Hessequa requested assistance from GRDM Fire and Rescue.

At 15:08 GRDM Fire and Rescue Riversdale team responded.

At 16:00 Riversdale requested assistance from the George team due to the fire being out of control and 8 houses directly in harm’s way.

At 17:21 it was reported that the first thatch house was completely destroyed.

Aerial support was requested at approximately 18:15 but due to time of day and last light, this was not possible.

At 21:12 Hessequa Fire and Rescue established a FCP (Forward control Point) at Vermaaklikheid Church.

At 21:54 it was reported that two more houses was completely destroyed.

At 22:45 it was reported that firefighting teams managed to save 2 houses, the fire is still out of control.

*Resources deployed:*
Hessequa Fire – 3 Vehicles

GRDM Fire – 6 Vehicles and 19 firefighters.

Garden Route District fire update 2018/20/22 Time: 06:00


LOCATION: Near Heidelberg, Duivenhoksriver

Head of fire burning actively in a south westerly direction toward Heidelberg.

Stop and Extinguish head of fire and mop up of tail and flanks

Fire active south south east of Duivenhoksriver on a backburn

GRDM fire fighters still busy safeguarding thatch roof houses on river Bank, as large area smoldering on adjacent hill.

Platoon Commander to patrol entire fire line and closely monitor head of fire

– Infrastructure: 
Thatch roof houses on river bank

– Evacuations:
Not available

– People: 

– Weather Conditions: 

To be deployed at first light.

Garden Route DM, WOF, Hessequa, Farmers

2 WOF ground crew
Hessequa crew

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